Month: September 2019

Politicians are scapegoating e-cigs for harm they haven’t done

When there’s an outbreak of deaths or illnesses from injected street drugs, do public health authorities demand diabetics and doctors stop using syringes? Of course not. Yet a host of public officials — from President Trump to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to members of the Squad — are taking just that sort of approach in responding to the spate of vaping-related illnesses and deaths around the country.

Cuomo, for example, went on a tear Sunday about vaping, calling it “a burgeoning health crisis” and threatening to declare an emergency to ban flavored nicotine e-cigarettes. That followed Trump’s announcement last Wednesday of federal plans to prohibit such devices.

The dramatic sudden outbursts of concern come after six deaths and 380 severe acute pulmonary illnesses, including at least 41 in New York. The cases were linked not to nicotine e-cigarettes but to vaping THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

E-cigarettes like Juul are intended to be used to inhale nicotine, but other types of vaping devices can also deliver cannabis-derived substances such as butane hash oils, known as “dabs.”

Scientists at New York’s Department of Health have led the way in pointing the finger at black-market THC-containing liquids, finding “very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed” in their investigation.

State laboratory test results found that “at least one vitamin E acetate-containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing.” Vitamin E acetate is an oily substance used to thicken cannabis-derived vaping liquids.

Vaping devices, including e-cigarette hardware, are simply devices for delivering an aerosolized solution. Nicotine e-cigarettes, which serve as a substitute for deadly cigarettes that burn tobacco, typically contain a solution of nicotine, flavorings and vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol.

Globally, tens of millions of people have used billions of e-cigarettes without any acute ill effects. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has told state health officials that lab testing of unused legal nicotine vape products of the type obtained from sick patients (who likely also used an illegal THC oil) found no contaminants or ingredients suspected of causing illness.

It’s a very different story when a vaporizer is used to deliver black-market street drugs like the cannabis-derived oils that are being dangerously adulterated with vitamin E acetate.

In announcing the planned federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes in the midst of the outbreak of lung disease, Trump is being misled. Vaping nicotine is an approach to harm-reduction, and appealing non-tobacco flavors are critical to reduce the likelihood that adults will revert to smoking cigarettes.

Exposure to nicotine is not healthy, to be sure, and kids should not vape (unless they already smoke cigarettes and want to transition to a less harmful alternative). But prohibition seldom works, and data from the FDA indicate that while vaping in teens is up, cigarette smoking has fallen to historic lows.

Still, elected officials continue their attack on e-cigarettes, recommending that nearly everyone stop vaping immediately.

That might seem like an abundance of caution, but it’s really an abundance of chicanery. Linking acute lung disease to e-cigarettes is no more logical than warning people about the dangers of vaccination because vaccines are delivered through a needle, and people can get hepatitis from dirty needles.

Expansive warnings to stop vaping altogether, instead of to avoid illicit contaminated THC products, are like advising ex-smokers who have switched to vaping to return to smoking cigarettes. That puts vapers’ lives at risk.

What we need is aggressive state, local and federal enforcement against teen vaping and Drug Enforcement Administration action against illegal THC vapes that cause lung disease.

Meanwhile, why are politicians and public health officials behaving so badly? We have a hypothesis: Until now, the most prominent allegations of serious health effects (even for adults) from e-cigarettes were hypotheticals — such as that vaping would be a “gateway” to cigarette smoking — that have failed to materialize.

In fact, teen cigarette-smoking has been declining. Now, with reports of verifiable acute illnesses and even deaths, politicians are brazenly attempting to indict nicotine vaping, even though their case against the practice is without merit.

In a reckless attempt to redeem their credibility in their war on e-cigarettes, they’ve doubled down on misinformation, disingenuously implying that cannabis-derived oils, home-brewed THC vapes and unadulterated nicotine-containing e-cigarettes all pose the same risks.

They think they can get away with it because … well, virtually nobody has challenged them. It’s time more people did.

Henry Miller is a Pacific Research Institute senior fellow and the founding director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology. Jeff Stier is a Consumer Choice Center senior fellow.

Originally published here

Muito além do chocolate e da cerveja: o que fazer em Bruxelas em 48 horas

Além dessas vantagens, a capital belga também tem o aeroporto mais bem-avaliado da Europa, segundo levantamento publicado em agosto pelo Consumer Choice Center. Uma das dificuldades de acesso ao país, reconhece Geert Van Dessel, gerente do Brussels Airport, é a malha aérea. “Não existe voo direto do Brasil para a Bélgica”, lamenta.

Read more here

La méthode scientifique est menacée

OPINION. La routine du «qui vous finance?» pratiquée par les activistes écologistes nuira à la confiance de la méthode scientifique, avance Bill Wirtz, analyste pour le Consumer Choice Center.

Supposons qu’un scientifique vous dise qu’une certaine équation mathématique est manifestement correcte. On pouvait tourner l’équation de toutes les façons possibles, mais on en arrivait toujours à la même conclusion. Supposons maintenant que ce scientifique ait pris la parole une fois à une conférence et que sa chambre d’hôtel ait été payée par une industrie qui avait un intérêt direct à ce que l’équation soit vraie. Certains diront qu’il y a conflit d’intérêts, mais on ne peut supposer qu’il a orchestré une distorsion de ses travaux scientifiques que si l’on peut démontrer que l’équation est fausse. Aucun argent au monde ne peut changer les faits.

LIEN: https://www.letemps.ch/economie/methode-scientifique-menacee

DEBATE: London Fashion Week is drawing to a close, but does fast fashion stand up to ethical scrutiny?

Bill Wirtz, senior policy analyst at the Consumer Choice Center, says YES.

Every few weeks, there is a new environmentalist quest to ban something that consumers like. While activists in the UK are protesting “fast fashion”, their German counterparts are shouting about SUVs,in the hope that a week of media attention will move someone in parliament to overreact and outlaw it.

The truth is this: certain consumers want to follow fashion trends on a seasonal basis, and that remains their prerogative. Hardly any consumer renews their entire wardrobe twice a year (mostly for financial reasons). They merely complete it with a new sweater or jeans. And they should be allowed to.

Sustainability is not ignored: many of the brands accused of contributing to climate change are already running sustainability commitments, and even have in-store recycling programmes.

Yes, some consumers follow trends as a way to express their personal style or artistic expression, while others opt for long-term and more durable options. The choice is key – and it would be unethical to limit that.

READ MORE HERE: https://www.cityam.com/debate-london-fashion-week-is-drawing-to-a-close-but-does-fast-fashion-stand-up-to-ethical-scrutiny/

Note to the new EU Commission: Consumer privacy is key

Brussels, BE – The incoming Commission President, Ursula von Der Leyen, will have a series of politically delicate hurdles to contend with in the field of cybersecurity. Here is why certification schemes are needed for that goal.

Not least in the domain of 5G, where the EU has come under increased pressure from American counterparts set to adopt a hostile position against next-generation technologies emanating from the far east.

Europe-wide, following a Commission recommendation for a common EU approach to the security of 5G networks, member states have recently submitted national risk assessments – providing an overview of their most pressing concerns in the future development of 5G infrastructure. These assessments will feed into the next phase, an EU-wide risk assessment to be completed by October 1st.

As part of the European cybersecurity strategy, certification schemes should be implemented on both services and networks.

Luca Bertoletti, Senior European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center responds: “We welcomed the implementation of the cybersecurity certification schemes but we hope the new commission will keep high standards.

“In our paper written by Mikołaj Barczentewicz, a research associate at the Oxford Centre for Technology & Global Affairs, we recommend using liability rules for operators and resellers of software and devices that expose consumers to the risk of malicious and illegal interference. Personal liability of company directors and executives should be also considered.

“We look forward to starting a productive discussion with the new commission on how to make consumers’ digital life, in the 5G era, more secure and private,” said Bertoletti.


The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Originally published here


Why We Need Legal Reform Now

From bogus lawsuits to unscrupulous trial lawyers, Yaël Ossowski of the Consumer Choice Center breaks down why we need more attention on reforming our legal system to better serve individuals and consumers who have been wronged.

Interviewed by radio host Joe Catenacci on Big Talker 106.7 FM in Wilmington, N.C.

https://consumerchoicecenter.org

Politicians are scapegoating e-cigs for harm they haven’t done

When there’s an outbreak of deaths or illnesses from injected street drugs, do public health authorities demand diabetics and doctors stop using syringes? Of course not. Yet a host of public officials — from President Trump to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to members of the Squad — are taking just that sort of approach in responding to the spate of vaping-related illnesses and deaths around the country.

Cuomo, for example, went on a tear Sunday about vaping, calling it “a burgeoning health crisis” and threatening to declare an emergency to ban flavored nicotine e-cigarettes. That followed Trump’s announcement last Wednesday of federal plans to prohibit such devices.

The dramatic sudden outbursts of concern come after six deaths and 380 severe acute pulmonary illnesses, including at least 41 in New York. The cases were linked not to nicotine e-cigarettes but to vaping THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

E-cigarettes like Juul are intended to be used to inhale nicotine, but other types of vaping devices can also deliver cannabis-derived substances such as butane hash oils, known as “dabs.”

Scientists at New York’s Department of Health have led the way in pointing the finger at black-market THC-containing liquids, finding “very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed” in their investigation.

State laboratory test results found that “at least one vitamin E acetate-containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing.” Vitamin E acetate is an oily substance used to thicken cannabis-derived vaping liquids.

Vaping devices, including e-cigarette hardware, are simply devices for delivering an aerosolized solution. Nicotine e-cigarettes, which serve as a substitute for deadly cigarettes that burn tobacco, typically contain a solution of nicotine, flavorings and vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol.

Globally, tens of millions of people have used billions of e-cigarettes without any acute ill effects. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has told state health officials that lab testing of unused legal nicotine vape products of the type obtained from sick patients (who likely also used an illegal THC oil) found no contaminants or ingredients suspected of causing illness.

It’s a very different story when a vaporizer is used to deliver black-market street drugs like the cannabis-derived oils that are being dangerously adulterated with vitamin E acetate.

In announcing the planned federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes in the midst of the outbreak of lung disease, Trump is being misled. Vaping nicotine is an approach to harm-reduction, and appealing non-tobacco flavors are critical to reduce the likelihood that adults will revert to smoking cigarettes.

Exposure to nicotine is not healthy, to be sure, and kids should not vape (unless they already smoke cigarettes and want to transition to a less harmful alternative). But prohibition seldom works, and data from the FDA indicate that while vaping in teens is up, cigarette smoking has fallen to historic lows.

Still, elected officials continue their attack on e-cigarettes, recommending that nearly everyone stop vaping immediately.

That might seem like an abundance of caution, but it’s really an abundance of chicanery. Linking acute lung disease to e-cigarettes is no more logical than warning people about the dangers of vaccination because vaccines are delivered through a needle, and people can get hepatitis from dirty needles.

Expansive warnings to stop vaping altogether, instead of to avoid illicit contaminated THC products, are like advising ex-smokers who have switched to vaping to return to smoking cigarettes. That puts vapers’ lives at risk.

What we need is aggressive state, local and federal enforcement against teen vaping and Drug Enforcement Administration action against illegal THC vapes that cause lung disease.

Meanwhile, why are politicians and public health officials behaving so badly? We have a hypothesis: Until now, the most prominent allegations of serious health effects (even for adults) from e-cigarettes were hypotheticals — such as that vaping would be a “gateway” to cigarette smoking — that have failed to materialize.

In fact, teen cigarette-smoking has been declining. Now, with reports of verifiable acute illnesses and even deaths, politicians are brazenly attempting to indict nicotine vaping, even though their case against the practice is without merit.

In a reckless attempt to redeem their credibility in their war on e-cigarettes, they’ve doubled down on misinformation, disingenuously implying that cannabis-derived oils, home-brewed THC vapes and unadulterated nicotine-containing e-cigarettes all pose the same risks.

They think they can get away with it because … well, virtually nobody has challenged them. It’s time more people did.

Henry Miller is a Pacific Research Institute senior fellow and the founding director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology. Jeff Stier is a Consumer Choice Center senior fellow.

Trump’s proposed ban on vape flavors may not stop teens from vaping, experts warn

“Are we not to learn anything from the current THC hash oil acute lung illness situation?”  asked Jeff Stier, a senior fellow and tobacco harm reduction advocate at the free market Consumer Choice Center. “We don’t want consumers adding stuff to their e-cigs. And we don’t want more sophisticated black-market folks doing it.”

READ MORE HERE: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/09/14/trump-proposal-ban-vaping-flavors-amid-lung-illness-limited-impact-experts-say/2309607001/

Federal e-cigarette removal proposal brings cautious celebration, warnings of overreach

Some free-market advocates say they believe Trump is overreacting to the vaping and lung illness connection.

“Trump needs to know the fact that adult smokers are switching en masse to these new reduced-risk products and they’ve been proven to be 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes,” said Yaël Ossowski, the deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center.

“These individuals switch in part due to vaping flavors, and that should be kept in mind.

“We should not use isolated cases caused by illegal products to inform public policy on the life-saving capabilities of vaping devices for adults,” Ossowski said. “That is bad science and bad public policy.”

READ MORE HERE: https://www.journalnow.com/business/federal-e-cigarette-removal-proposal-brings-cautious-celebration-warnings-of/article_856313e5-0ab1-55e3-8667-1e7b483535cf.html

Trump Administration Takes Aim at E-Cigarettes

Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, said the Trump administration needs to follow the facts.

“The fact is that the technological revolution that is happening today with vaping is giving people a less harmful alternative to consume nicotine, the stimulant alkaloid that smokers are actually addicted to. That’s something to celebrate,” Ossowski said.

“Trump needs to know that, as well as the fact that adult smokers are switching en masse to these new reduced-risk products and they’ve been proven to be 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes. These individuals switch in part due to vaping flavors, and that should be kept in mind. That said, no one wants teens to be vaping, and we should make sure of that,” he said, adding “there is more we can do to stop youth vaping, but we must preserve this technology as a tool for adults to consume their nicotine in a less harmful fashion.”

READ MORE HERE: https://csnews.com/trump-administration-takes-aim-e-cigarettes

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